Neroli Essential Oil and All of the Benefits It Can Give You

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Besides smelling amazing, Neroli essential oil is a powerful healing agent. The oil comes from the blossoms of the Bitter Orange (Seville) tree and it takes at least 1,000 pounds of orange blossom petals to make one single pound of neroli essential oil.

For this reason it is one of the most expensive essential oils from the citrus family. All parts of the bitter orange tree are valued for their fragrant and medicinal properties. The leaves and twigs are used to make Petitgrain essential oil, and the peel of the fruit is used to make orange essential oil.

Neroli oil was named after the 16th century Princess Anna Maria de La Tremoille of Nerola, Italy, who loved the fragrant orange blossom scent and wore it as a perfume. The fragrance was also popular with Queen Marie Antoinette, who was also a big fan of orange blossom water, and with the first Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, who used diluted neroli essential oil as an aftershave.

What Is Neroli Oil?

What Is Neroli Oil

Neroli oil is obtained via the steam distillation of the blossoms of the Bitter Orange tree – Citrus aurantium. The Bitter Orange is native to the Far East and is widely cultivated there. Today it is also widely grown in Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, France and the United States.

The Bitter Orange tree was introduced to America back in the mid 1500’s by the Spanish who brought the tree to St Augustine, Florida. The orange blossom flower is one of the official state symbols.

Neroli essential oil has an intensely floral aroma and is a pale yellow color. Another oil is also produced from the orange blossoms, but this is obtained by solvent extraction and is called Neroli Absolute. The absolute is a dark brown or orange viscous liquid and is valued primarily for its fragrance, although it also has strong therapeutic qualities.

When you purchase neroli essential oil, you should look for the pure oil that hasn’t been cut with other cheaper oils, and as with all essential oils used for healing, you should choose oils which are labeled ‘therapeutic grade’.

The principal constituents of Neroli essential oil which give it its therapeutic benefits are

  • Linalool – 34%
  • Linalyl acetate – 6-17%
  • Limonene – 15%
  • Alpha pinene
  • Beta pinene
  • Nerolidol
  • Geraniol
  • Nerol
  • Methyl anthranilate
  • Alpha terpinene
  • Indole
  • Citral
  • Farnesol
  • Camphene
  • Jasmone
  • Neryl acetate
  • nerolidol

Neroli essential oil is considered to be non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic.

Traditional Uses of Neroli Oil And Orange Blossom

Ancient Egyptian priests and priestesses used this oil to heal their body, mind, and spirit, and neroli oil has also been traditionally used to treat plague, relieve fever and banish nervousness.

Orange flowers feature heavily in folk traditions and were added to bridal bouquets and scattered over the marital bed to calm any marriage night apprehensions.

Neroli oil, in both its absolute form and the essential oil are widely used in perfume formulations.

The two oils have slightly different fragrance attributes and in addition to lending wonderful aromatic notes to perfumes also act as a natural fixative able to maintain the integrity of a fragrance blend.

The absolute retains the delicious, heady floral sweetness of the orange blossoms and is used in high end perfumes, especially blends with oriental, floral and citrus notes. The essential oil has lighter notes of orange blossom with a touch of green, and blends well with lavender, bergamot, rosemary and lemon to create lighter blends used in EDT fragrances.

Orange blossoms have the same headiness as jasmine flowers because the two blooms share some of the same chemical makeup – Methyl anthranilate for example. Jasmine essential oil is also a potent little healing oil and blends very well with neroli oil, both in terms of compatible fragrances and in terms of the additional healing benefits that it posses.

Neroli essential oil is the main ingredient in the refreshing Eau-de Cologne from Cologne, Germany.

When the essential oil has been distilled from the orange blossom flowers, the water that is left behind, is still infused with some of orange blossoms healing goodness. While nowhere near as potent as neroli oil, orange blossom water is a traditional skin care tonic and a delicate flavoring for many culinary delights.

Therapeutic Uses of Neroli Essential Oil

Neroli essential oil is used for its actions as an

  • Antidepressant
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Bactericide
  • Carminative
  • Cicatrisant
  • Cordial
  • Deodorant
  • Digestive
  • Fungicide
  • Mild hypnotic
  • Nervous stimulant
  • Cardiac and circulatory stimulant

These actions make neroli oil suitable to use in the following ways.

Skin Care

  1. To reduce the appearance of and rejuvenate scar tissue and stretch marks.
  2. To fade and treat thread veins.
  3. To soothe sensitive skin.
  4. To improve micro circulation in mature skin, brightening the complexion and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
  5. To heal minor wounds

Circulation, Muscles and Joints

  1. To relieve palpitations.
  2. To improve overall circulation to reduce joint and muscle inflammation.
  3. For pain relief.
  4. To relieve hypertension.

Digestive System

  1. As a tonic for diarrhea.
  2. To relieve colic.
  3. To reduce flatulence.
  4. To ease spasms in the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.
  5. To treat nervous dyspepsia.

Nervous System

  1. To lift depression.
  2. To ease anxiety and nervous tension.
  3. To relieve premenstrual tension.
  4. To treat shock and other stress related conditions.

Research Into Neroli Essential Oil

In addition to the long established medicinal uses for Neroli oil, modern research has begun to confirm, what traditional herbalists have known all along.

Research has found that the chemical composition of the blossoms of the bitter orange tree gives them antimicrobial and antioxidant powers.  

Acts As An Antibacterial And Antifungal

When tested, neroli essential oil was found to exhibit marked antimicrobial activity against six types of bacteria, (3 Gram-positive and 3 Gram-negative), three kinds of fungi and two different yeasts. The research published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, found that neroli essential oil exhibited a very strong antifungal activity when compared to the standard antifungal treatment – nystatin, and was particularly effective against the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.  

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria is, according to Medscape, “the most common pathogen isolated from patients who have been hospitalized longer than 1 week, and it is a frequent cause of nosocomial infections. Pseudomonal infections are complicated and can be life-threatening.”

Acts as an Anti-seizure And Anticonvulsant Agent

Seizures are caused by changes in the brain’s electrical activity. They can be severe and cause dramatic and unmistakable symptoms like violent shaking and loss of control, or they can be silent seizures which exhibit no outward symptoms at all but still cause problems.

The anticonvulsant properties of neroli essential oil were studied in 2014, and the oil was found to possess biologically active constituents which have an anticonvulsant activity. The researchers concluded that the ethnomedicinal claims of the use of the plant in the management of seizures were well founded.

Acts To Decrease Blood Pressure And Cortisol Levels

Neroli essential oil has been investigated for its effects on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels. Salivary cortisol levels are an indicator of the levels of stress hormones present in the body.

The study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, used neroli oil inhalation at regular intervals for 24 hours on 83 prehypertensive and hypertensive (high blood pressure) subjects. Neroli oil in this instance was blended with lavender, ylang ylang and marjoram essential oils.

A placebo group were asked to inhale an artificial fragrance, and a control group received no treatment.

Unsurprisingly, given the reputation of these essential oils, after treatment the group that were given the neroli essential oil blend to inhale had significantly decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings compared with the placebo group and the control group.

The essential oil group also showed significant reductions in their salivary cortisol concentrations.

The researchers concluded that the inhalation of neroli and the other essential oils can have immediate and prolonged positive effects on blood pressure and stress reduction.

Reduces Stress And  Alleviates Menopausal Symptoms

This 2014 study investigated the effects of inhaling neroli essential oil on menopausal symptoms and stress in postmenopausal women. Their levels of estrogen were also measured.

The Korea University School of Nursing Study randomized a group of sixty-three healthy postmenopausal women to inhale either 0.1 percent or 0.5 percent neroli essential oil, or almond oil, which was used as the control, for five minutes twice a day for five consecutive days.

When compared to the almond essential oil control group, the two neroli essential oil groups showed lower diastolic blood pressure, as well as healthier heart rates, serum cortisol levels and estrogen concentrations. In the 0.5 percent neroli essential oil group the diastolic blood pressure decreases were considered significantly lower.

The researchers concluded that their findings indicated that inhalation of neroli essential oil helps to relieve menopausal symptoms, increase sexual desire, reduces blood pressure, and relieve stress in postmenopausal women.

Acts To Lower Inflammation And Pain

Acts To Lower Inflammation And Pain

The effects of neroli essential oil on inflammation and pain relief were investigated in a 2015 animal study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines.

The study induced inflammation in the animals with a substance called carrageenan, which is a common food additive whose use in foods is very controversial. Campaigners have called for it to be banned, but so far the FDA has refused. The fact that it is used in laboratory studies to induce inflammation is very telling!

The results of the study indicated that the biologically active constituents in neroli essential oil were very effective at reducing acute inflammation and had an even more marked effect on chronic inflammation. Researchers noted that the effect of neroli essential oil was very close to the standard drug used to reduce inflammation, diclofenac sodium.

Neroli essential oil also exhibited a strong analgesic (pain relieving) effect, with the ability to reduce both peripheral and central sensitivity to pain.

How To Use Neroli Essential Oil At Home

To experience the healing benefits of neroli essential oil yourself, it can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically, diffused or directly inhaled.

To clear your head and reduce stress any time of the day, keep a small 5ml bottle of neroli essential oil with you at all times. When the kids are pushing your last button, your boss is making you miserable, or the work day commute is driving you crazy, pop the top off the bottle and take a few deep breaths of neroli. The relaxing, stress busting properties of the sweet smelling oil will instantly calm you down and make getting through your day a little bit easier.

To help you relax into a restorative slumber, sprinkle a few drops of neroli oil onto a cotton pad and pop it onto your pillow where you can inhale the fragrance. Or (my favorite way) if you have an oil burner, you can set it on your nightstand, add a few drops of neroli essential oil to the water and drift off to its heady, relaxing aroma, accompanied by the soft flicker of candlelight.

Use neroli essential oil to combat acne and other skin eruptions. The antimicrobial properties in the oil will take care of the bacteria that is responsible for your outbreak, while its anti-inflammatory properties will reduce redness and quickly improve your skin’s appearance.  Dilute a couple of drops of neroli oil with a teaspoon of water and use a cotton pad to apply to any spotty areas on your skin. Use twice a day.

Make yourself a de-stressing bath with neroli essential oil, or make up a blend with other powerful stress busters like lavender and ylang ylang. Just add 5 or 6 drops to a warm bath, then lie back and relax.

Alleviate headaches with neroli oil. Mix 2 to 3 drops of neroli oil with a teaspoon of any carrier oil and massage into your temples. You can also add lavender to the neroli to increase the headache relieving effects. I find that essential oils used on the temple area relieve a headache in a little less time than popping a painkiller, and unlike painkillers there are no safety worries. The headache relieving abilities of neroli essential oil is another good reason to keep a small bottle in your purse.

Soothe and eliminate menstrual cramps with a neroli oil massage. The pain relieving properties of neroli essential oil will bring you fast relief, while the antispasmodic qualities of neroli oil relax your cramping uterus. Use 4-5 drops of neroli oil mixed with 1 dessert spoon of carrier oil and massage your abdominal area. To prevent cramps in the first place make sure that you have good levels of magnesium in your diet. Most people are magnesium deficient, so by upping your levels you can eliminate the source of the cramping rather than just treating the symptom. Taking a magnesium supplement with high bioavailability (magnesium chloride or magnesium citrate) is also a fast way to ease any cramp.

Purify the air and give your home a clean aroma. Neroli essential oil is a germ buster, so it’s the perfect choice to use alone or as part of a blend, to kill microbes in the air and make your home a sweeter smelling, healthier place to be. You can add a few drops of the essential oil to a pan of simmering water on your stove, add neroli to a diffuser or oil burner, or even add a couple of drops to a burning tealight candle.

If you blood pressure is a little on the high side but you aren’t taking medication for it, you can help to stabilize your levels by sniffing neroli essential oil straight from the bottle a few times a day. Doing this will also lower your stress levels which may even be the root cause for your elevated blood pressure, so double plus good, as they say in 1984.

Rejuvenate dry and mature skin, by adding a few drops of neroli oil to your regular moisturizing cream or add some drops to a teaspoon of carrier oil and massage over your face. The oil will improve your circulation to bring a healthy glow to your skin and work to improve the appearance of wrinkles.

Ease the mood swings and depression related to premenstrual syndrome by inhaling neroli essential oil straight from the bottle, or by using it in a massage oil or warm bath.

Improve digestive complaints by using the antispasmodic properties of neroli oil. Inhale the oil and also use 4-5 drops in a carrier oil to massage into your lower abdomen, to bring relief to cramps, trapped gas and other griping pains.

Improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and broken capillaries with a few drops of neroli oil mixed into a carrier oil. Massage into the affected area daily to experience the skin rejuvenating abilities of this powerful oil. Neroli oil helps to increase the regeneration of your skin’s elastin to restore its normal appearance.

Ease the pain of childbirth. Anything that takes the edge off the pain of contractions is a gift from the gods, and neroli oil can really make a difference to your childbirth experience. Inhale the fragrance to reduce stress and fear and to help your muscles relax. Massage the oil into your lower back to bring additional pain relief. And a room gently fragranced with neroli oil is a lovely environment for your newborn to greet the world.

Harness the antimicrobial power of neroli oil to cleanse wounds. Add a few drops to a small amount of water and use a cotton ball to wash the affected area and remove infectious bacteria. As a cicatrisant neroli oil will also increase the rate at which the wound heals over.

And there you have it. Neroli essential oil is a little miracle in a bottle. A 5ml bottle of neroli essential oil costs around $15 and will contain approximately 100 drops. I think that you’ll love it!

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.